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Crochet Retro Purse 


Crochet Retro Purse 

Written By: Beth Doherty 


Cascade 220 (6) 

or similar worsted-weight wool yam, thread colors Used: 7803 Fuchsia, 8903 Leaf 

Green. 8910 Light Green. 9477 Light Pink, 8906 Light Blue. 8393 Navy. 

Crochet hook (1) 

E/4mm crochet hook or size needed to obtain gauge. 

Old blue jeans (1) 

for lining. 

Seam binding (1) 

to match blue jeans. 

Sewing machine (1) 

or sewing needle. 

Large snap (1) 

Tapestry needle (1) 

Clothespins (1) 

Pencil (1) 


"Reduce, reuse, and recycle" have replaced "reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic" as the three Rs 
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Crochet Retro Purse 

foremost in people's minds. It was in this spirit that I created the following pattern for a 
handsome shoulder bag composed of repeated motifs in randomly changing colors. 

The lining is made from old jeans, and you can sew the change pocket in for a cellphone or 
ID pouch. The handle is a clothesline that's been densely crocheted around, an 
environmentally friendly and economical choice, not to mention that it matches the bag 
perfectly. But more exciting than its use of recycled materials is the bag's combination of 
recycled design from the 1940s and 1970s. 

Step 1 — Gauge it. 

• The finished motif measures 3.5" when steam blocked lightly (see how to block at the end 
of motif instructions). Note that this is a firm gauge — you don't want your bag to sag. If 
you want to use this motif for a scarf or something else where softness is important, try a 
hook that is a few sizes larger than the one you used to get the gauge on the bag. 

• Stitch abbreviations, repeat instructions between asterisks as many times as directed. 

• Stitch (st) 

• Slit stitch (slst) 

• Single crochet (sc) 

• Decrease (sc2tog) 

• Cluster (dc3tog or dc4tog) 

• Treble crochet (tr) 

• Half double crochet (hdc) 

• Chain (ch) 

• Skip (sk) 

• Times (x) 

• Make ring (mr) 

• Round (rnd) 

• Right side (RS) 

• Wrong side (WS) 

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Crochet Retro Purse 

Step 2 — Crochet the motif. 



• Change colors randomly for each motif, but always use Navy for the last round. 
Instructions are given for one way of using colors as an example of which rounds the 
colors are changed after. 

• Starting in the center with Leaf Green, make a ring. 

• Rnd 1 : ch 1 , 7 sc in ring, slst to top of first sc to join (8 st, ch at beginning of rnd always 
counts as ast). 

• Draw the working yarn through the ring and put this loop on your hook. Make a ring by 
crossing the working end (the ball end) over the tail end, leaving about 6". Single crochet 
into the ring and over the tail. When you are finished with Rnd 1 , pull on the tail to close 
the ring. 

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Crochet Retro Purse 

Step 3 — Crochet the motif, continued. 

t Rnd 2: ch 3, dc3tog in same space as slst, ch 3, (dc4tog in next sc, ch 3) 7x, slst to top of 
dc3tog to join (8 clusters and 8 ch 3 spaces). Fasten off Leaf Green. 

i Switch to Fuchsia. 

i Rnd 3: Pull up a loop in any ch 3 space, ch 1 , 4 sc in the same ch 3 space, sk next 
cluster, (5 sc in next ch 3 space, sk next cluster) 7x (40 sc). 

t Fasten off Fuchsia. Join to first st of rnd as shown. 

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Crochet Retro Purse 

Step 4 — Crochet the motif, continued. 

Switch to Light Blue. 

Rnd 4: Pull up a loop in the center sc of any 5 sc group, ch 1 , 2 sc in same sc, (sc in next 

sc, sc2tog, sc in next sc, 3 sc in next sc) 7x, sc in next sc, sc2tog, sc in next sc (48 sc). 

First, fasten off your yarn leaving about an 8" tail, and thread it onto a tapestry needle. 

With the RS facing, go under both loops of the first stitch of the rnd. 

Pull the needle through to the WS and then insert it into the middle of the last stitch of the 

rnd. Weave in the end on the WS. Fasten off Light Blue. Join to first st of rnd as shown. 

Switch to Light Pink. 

Rnd 5: Pull up a loop in any sc2tog, ch 1, sc in next st, * sc2tog, hdc in next st, dc in next 

st (tr, ch 3, tr) in next st, dc in next st, hdc in next st, sc2tog, sc in next 3 st, rep from * 3 

x, sc2tog, hdc in next st, dc in next st, (tr, ch 3, tr) in next st, dc in next st, hdc in next st, 

sc2tog, sc in next st, (44 st and four, ch 3 corners). Fasten off Light Pink. Join to first st of 


Switch to Light Green. 

Rnd 6: Pull up a loop in any center sc in which there are 3 sc in a row, ch 1 , sc in next 5 

st, * (2 sc, hdc, 2 sc) in corner ch 3 space, sc in next 1 1 st, rep from * 3 x, (2 sc, hdc, 2 

sc) in corner ch 3 space, sc in next 5 st (64 st). Fasten off Light Green. Join to first st of 


Switch to Navy. 

Rnd 7: Pull up a loop in any center sc in which there are 5 sc in a row, ch 1 , sc in next 7 

st, * (2 sc, hdc, 2 sc) in next st, sc in next 15 st, rep from * 3 x, (2 sc, hdc, 2 sc) in next 

st, sc in next 7 st (72 st). 

Make 16 more motifs, for a total of 17, changing the colors randomly as desired. 

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Crochet Retro Purse 

Step 5 — Block and join your motifs. 

• After your motifs are made, you will want to block them, or rather, you will wish that you 
did not have to block them, but blocking makes joining the motifs much easier, and 
because you used 100% wool yarn, the process is fairly quick and painless. 

• At right (above) is an unblocked motif. It looks kind of ill tempered, which you will be if you 
try to join the motifs without blocking them first. 

• To block a motif, simply pin it to size (you really only need to pin the corners), in this case 
3.5", spritz it with a bit of water, or set your iron on steam, and iron it on the "wool" setting. 

• After all of the motifs are blocked, lay them out and join them together into a single piece 
that is folded in half to form the front and back of the bag. In other words, you will be 
joining all of the motifs together at this time — none are being saved for the front or the 

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Crochet Retro Purse 

Step 6 — Block and join your motifs, continued. 

• There are many methods of joining motifs together. Some people like to sew them, some 
people like to sc them. My preferred method is to slst them together on the WS. 

• At right (bottom), 2 motifs are being joined. The right sides are together and the wrong 
sides are facing out. I like to slst through just the 2 outside loops. This gives me a nice 
edge on the front of the motifs. Again, there are many methods of joining motifs. This is my 
favorite because it does not show from the front and I do not have to cut lengths of yarn for 
sewing them together. 

• When 2 motifs have been slst together, do not break your yarn, and keep going to the next 
2 motifs. 

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Crochet Retro Purse 

Step 7 — Line the bag. 

• Since this bag is made out of 
motifs that have holes in them, it's 
nice to give it a lining. Even nicer is 
a stiff denim lining from recycled 
blue jeans. 

• Note: If you want, you can 
also cut the change pocket 

out of the jeans and sew it into the 
lining. It would be the perfect size 
for an id or small cellphone. 

• You'll need a big piece of material 
to line this bag. The easiest way to 
get a this is to use the leg of a pair 
of jeans. Cut the leg and open it at 
the top stitched seam. Then lay the 
center of your crocheted piece 
across the remaining seam of the 
jeans leg as shown. 

• Place the bag on top of the cut jean 
material and, using a pencil, trace 
around the outside of the bag. Cut 
out around this line. There is no 
need to leave an additional seam 

• Fold the cut piece in half at the 
factory seam with the RS together. 
Sew the 2 shorter edges with a 1/4" 
seam allowance. Pin the seam 
binding around the top of edge and 
sew it in place. 

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Crochet Retro Purse 

Step 8 — Assemble the bag. 

• Sew the 2 ends of your 60" length of rope together. I used the zigzag stitch on my sewing 
machine. Lay the loop of rope inside your bag. Fold the bag in half with the rope inside the 
bag, as shown. 

• Note: The WS is up. 

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Crochet Retro Purse 

Step 9 — Assemble the bag, continued. 

• With RS facing and Navy yarn, pull up a loop at the fold and sc through both thicknesses 
of the bag and around the rope. You are at once attaching the handle and crocheting the 
sides closed. I found it necessary to put at least 2 sc in each st. To do this, set the rope 
on top of the motifs, sc into the motifs and over the rope. When one side of the bag is 
closed, sc around the clothesline alone. 

• I found that the clothesline was making the sc want to twist. I went with this instead if 
fighting it. I gave the crochet some extra twists as well as scrunching up the crochet very 
tightly. This gave the handle a nice body. I also found clothespins useful for keeping the 
rope in place and keeping track of when I was done with the handle and when I had to start 
crocheting the other side closed. 

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Crochet Retro Purse 

Step 10 — Assemble the bag, continued. 

• When the handle is completely and 
tightly covered, sc through both 
thicknesses of the bag and around 
the rope like you did on the first 
side. You may also want to sc 
around the top of the bag. 

• Insert the lining into the assembled 
bag and whipstitch it into place. 

• Sew the snap onto center points. 

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Crochet Retro Purse 

Step 11 — Make tassels (optional). 

• Cut a 5" tall piece of cardboard. Place a 12" length of yarn across the top of the cardboard, 
then wind the Navy yarn 30x lengthwise around the cardboard and yarn. Tie the 12" 
strands tightly together around the top. This is what you'll use later to attach the tassel to 
the bag. Cut the yarn at the bottom. 

• Wrap an additional piece of yarn a few times tightly around the tassel about 1" below the 
top, securing the ends with a knot. Trim the ends of the tassel. Repeat to make the second 

• Sew one tassel on either side of the bag where the rope comes out of the fold. 

• And we're done! Now go and wear your retro-remix bag proudly. 

This project first appeared in CRAFT Volume 02 , pages 62-69. 

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